We used to believe that intelligent alien life might be found within our very Solar system, perhaps even on the Moon itself; however, as we continue to explore the cosmos, the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis has undergone a steady territorial retreat.
The Great Moon Hoax of 1835 was disproven by further telescopic surveys.
Mars and Venus were both promoted as possible home worlds for intelligent civilizations, both by scientists and gormless flying saucer contactees. Venus turned out to be completely inhospitable to life. Surveys of Mars have firmly disproven any ideas of Martian canals or the possibility of all but microbial life on its surface.
Further out in the Solar system, it’s been speculated that life might exist in ocean depths beneath the frozen surfaces of the moons of gas giants. Maybe. But it really does seem like we’re grasping at straws now, praying for an extremophile organism to save us from a steady losing streak.
It may not surprise you, but the UFO community had basically given up on the Solar system back in the 1950s. Both theologians and scientists had proposed that life was ubiquitous. Theologians did so as an extension of the principle of plenitude, many seeing worlds as wasted without the existence of inhabitants to praise God for their existence. Scientists believed in the inevitability of warm little ponds and natural laws. Neither were correct, as it turns out, in knowing either the mind of God or the workings of nature… or both.
Life may exist beyond this Solar system; however, he idea that life is visiting this planet from places beyond this system with impunity is unlikely. Like really breaking-major-laws-of-physics-and-lacking-sufficient-motivations-for-such-a-trip-anyway unlikely. In other words, even if they have cirvumvented the laws of physics to get here, why are they here in the first place? They’re not here for our resources. They’ve shown no evidence thst they’re here for our benefit. Contactee messages usually have them working through non-influential persons to allegedly influence the world to save itself or enlighten itself. Abductee hybrid claims are just as nonsensical? Hybrids wouldn’t save them or us. And the message is still essentially, We came here to tell you to be better without an effective plan to do so.
Of course, the picture I’ve painted is incomplete. The Contactees did not give up Mars and Venus. Rather they explained that the Space Brothers came from “etheric” versions of those planets. In modern terminology, they were claiming that the Venusians and Martians were from another dimension or universe, a variant couterpart to ours.
The Extradimensional Hypothesis still has its problems. In fact, it seems to have the same exact problems as the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. How are they getting here from another dimension? And if they’re smart enough to do that, why are they here? What was the plan? And why do the alleged plans allegedly delivered through “experiencers” make so little sense? If those contactee/abductee messages really came from interdimensional entities, why does it seem like they’re hiding their true agenda?
And that leads further down the spiral of the Great Porcelain Bowl of UFO Hypotheses: the Demonic Hypothesis.
This is the idea that the “etheric” or “extradimensional” nature of the entities is really just another word for supernatural. And since they’re liars who enjoy masochistic “surgical” procedures, they must be demons. Because we’re all pretty sure that Satan himself invented the anal probe. Christian ufologists have jumped on this bandwagon, largely in reaction to the experiencers tales, which they find largely antagonistic to Christian doctrine specifically and generally diabolical in nature. And certainly the supernatural exists and the Devil is up to something, why not a grand alien deception? With just the right supernatural signs, the Antichrist could be ushered in as a hybrid, the UFO fringe could become mainstream belief, and Satan could railroad himself into a prophesied End Game in which he knows he’s been picked as the surest loser… Hmmm. Is the Devil really that dumb?
As tempting as all that is, Occam’s Razor suggests a better alternative. Alien entities aren’t visiting us. Not from another planet. Not from another dimension. Not from that Dungeons and Dragons T-shirt you forgot about in a box in your attic.
Before the flying saucers, there were mystery airships that were basically indistinguishable from futuristic (by those days’ standards) zeppelins.
Early experiencers described knobs, toggles and wiring aboard alien spacecraft; more modern accounts look like something designed by Tony Stark. Why does their tech crawl along at the same rate as ours? Why do old contactee accounts feature technology reminiscent of Star Trek: The Original Series, while later accounts suddenly feature gadgets more akin to Star Trek: The Next Generation? We could barely get to the moon with such analog technology; how are we to suppose they traversed the cosmos and only recently got an upgrade?
I read the following recently on The Angry Ufologist website:
If ETs are traveling the stars by means beyond our knowledge of physics, they are likely violating time and space to the point where they get from one-star system to the next within a span where intelligences at that level can interact. I think that it’s the wrong point of view not only to go by the SETI model of contacting ET, but Propulsion traveling mentality is even worse.
As long as our scientific orthodoxy evaluate highly intelligent ET beings based on our limited knowledge of physics, we will assume that they cannot get here because we’re still stuck on very physical means of space exploration based on propulsion based science. It is almost as though we keep thinking that riding horses is the only way to cross wide expanses. What’s boggling my mind is that the conservative scientific status quo refuses to imagine outside the box and project reality as such. If we accept the idea that there are thousands of civilizations in our galaxy that’s at least five hundred thousand years more advanced than us, then we must entertain the idea that some have figured out how to manipulate space-time and roam the stars.
That’s all well and good, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. In fact, it underscores what we’ve already discussed: if they’re so far advanced that we can invoke Clarke’s Third Law, why does their tech appear so dated in experiencer accounts?
Trevor Wozny (the namesake Angry Ufologist; not everyone’s a fan) suggests that perhaps the aliens are so different that we are practically invisible to one another, like the aliens of Forbidden Planet.
Our interactions are thus nearly incomprehensible to one another. Or perhaps they have as much trouble communicating with us as we do with ants. And once again, this would make nonsense of the experiencer accounts that are oddly in sync with the issues of the times but in anticipation of our technology by a decade or so.
Speaking of which, the messages have changed, too. We used to get messages about the Atomic Bomb and how that drew their attention to us. Now Ancient Aliens advocates have retconned history to claim that extraterrestrial entities have always taken an exploitative interest in our planet and done whatever they cared to with our civilizations, so why handle us with kid gloves in the 1950s? Maybe the reason the aliens seem to conform themselves, their vehicles and technology, and their messages to our current ideas of the future is because they are products of our collective imagination.
The Psychosocial Hypothesis suggests that we are making these myths as a collective social process as we go along. Flying saucer headlines from the 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting resulted in a flap of saucer-shaped UFOs that imprinted the term and expectation of a “flying saucer” onto our social consciousness.
We interpreted aerial phenomenon according to this meme. It effectively replaced the mystery zeppelins of the 19th century. The tech changes because our concept of future technology is constantly changing to keep apace of new developments and discoveries. Our ufologies are informed by speculative fiction which was in turn informed by speculative science and theology… and conspiracy theories based on real coverups of more mundane but no less secret military projects. We’ve been drawing from these speculations and weaving them into a modern-day mythology. And we comprehended it not. It’s the way all great conspiracy theories are built.
For my money, the Psychosocial Hypothesis of UFO best explains both the UFO phenomenon and the coinciding experiencer phenomenon. As a Christian, I would say that if the Devil is at play at all in all this, it is minor; basically, well-meaning Christians are giving him far more credit than his due. The superior explanatory power of the Psychosocial Hypothesis is that it makes of the high strangeness in the form of novel fictions; of why there is as little evidence for the objective reality of hypnosis-related alien abduction phenomenon as there was for Satanic Ritual Abuse (an especially interesting observation, given major points of comparison between these two moral panics provided in materials presented at MIT’s 1992 Abduction Conference); and why, after 70 years of research, we still want to believe in the face of a resounding lack of evidence. We’ve been walking in our own tracks, and weve been walking in circles for so long that we’re stuck in a rut.
We when climb up out of the pit, a clear pattern emerges. The only aliens presently here on this Earth are fictions of our own collective creation.